Why government needs to focus more on BHIM?
It has been a year or so when India’s most aggressive and hyperactive anti-corruption act – “DEMONETIZATION”. If someone plans to market this campaign then long ques in front of ATM can be adjudged as its best describing logo.
Interestingly, India’s true patriotic sense figured out that this Fintech startup tuned helper is backed by a Chinese behemoth Alibaba. Understanding this concern and avoiding any further uproar and backlash, government of India launched it very own payment platform BHIM ( Bharat Interface For Money). A simple and good initiative whereby allowing the customer to directly link their AADHAR linked bank account with the platform, thereby making the transaction seamless and accessible to all. But unfortunately, although being an easy alternative to private wallet players like Paytm, the platform is yet to takeoff it full flight. As per the latest data As of March 1, 2020, BHIM had recorded 47.65 million downloads on Android and 11.19 million on Apple iOS. This is way below the numbers achieved by Paytm which has been downloaded by almost 100 million+ users.
So why did BHIM failed to capture the traction it intended to achieve?
The answer lies in the marketing spend our Government has done in promoting the platform. Not much has been done to promote the application. Not just that even Private sector banks like Punjab National Bank and State Bank Of India launched their very own payment instruments rather than educating users to use BHIM app.
Secondly, Paytm succeeded because it brought in a simple transaction process, the QR code. GOI, with its initial intention to promote common QR codes for all the banks failed to chip them in among small merchants or shopkeepers.
Third, although being smooth, the application has reported a substantial failed transactions which have irritated the Indian Audience which is hyper volatile in terms of the money lost in transaction.
So where is the solution?
Addressing issues like transaction failure and working on a low latency model ( server side) would make the entire transaction process smooth which would lead to an increase in the increase in the usage of the app. Secondly, GOI should take some serious initiative to encourage the rural audience to use the same for peer to peer transactions. India story is a hard core rural story with more than 66.86% population living in villages. No govt scheme can survive unless it gains a massive traction for this audience. Government can disburse subsidies, offer cash back using the platform thereby making it attractive of the rural population.